Wednesday, 28 November 2007

Busy Busy Busy

I can't believe that's it been a week since I last posted!! How the hell did that happen!!

Here's what we've been up to......

We attended a 40th Birthday party. I learned how to make Lychee Vodka and yes, it does require a little more thought than just vodka with a Lychee in it (......although to be fair.....not much more thought!!!) and I discovered that you can buy a snazzy little table top cooker that makes the best pizza ever!! (I'm coveting!!). We should have taken our camera because the views from our friends apartment were absolutely stunning but we didn't so you'll just have to use your imagination!!

We tripped the light fantastic. It was the St Andrew's Ball on Saturday night and Chris and I spent most of the evening on the dance floor - The Gay Gordon's, Strip The Willow....there was no stopping us. (Actually it was fab - it was the first time we have ever danced the old fashioned Scottish Dances together and my enduring memory of the evening was laughing with Chris whilst spinning round on the dance floor). I may be slightly biased but he looked gorgeous in his kilt (and despite putting on a little bit of weight I still managed to fit into my dress......happy days!!)

We visited a fantastic art and photography exhibition. They were unrelated but were in the same shopping mall - the art exhibition was on the ground floor and featured prominent Thai artists and the photography exhibition was on the top floor and was entitled 9 days in Thailand. Apparently photographers from across the globe came to Thailand last year and each one spent 9 days photographing things that interested them. The exhibition is the culmination of their work - it's fantastic and they've put a book together - I think I see a purchase in our future.

Mr Mad Tony is back in the land of smiles so we have spent some time entertaining him!!

I have re-designed the Soi Cat and Dog Rescue shop for Christmas - I think I may have to give up my volunteering there.....every time I go I find something else I want to buy. Last time it was a vase.....this time it was a silk Kimono dressing gown which is the most beautiful shade of pink.....I don't really do pink but this one really suits me (Which is a bit weird cause I thought it would clash with my hair!!). At least my money goes to a good cause if I spend it in that shop :-)

I have sold another four pictures - bringing my grand total to 19 (Wooo hooo!!! There was much happy'll be pleased to hear that I refrained from doing it in public and managed to wait till I got home) AND I've managed to raise about 10,000 baht for charity in the process. Nearly everyone who has bought one has asked for them to be personalised so I've been drawing dogs, toy trucks, adding names and dates.......basically doing all sorts of things. (Keeps me out of mischief I suppose!!)

I'm also sorting out volunteers for three children's parties - There is one in December which is for orphaned kids with hearing problems, one in January for the slum kids (The organisation we work with runs 23 schools so each year one school is selected and we throw a party for them - it's really quite something.....each kid gets their own cuddly toy and for some of them it's the only one they will ever get - can you imagine!!) and the party at Wat Sakeo is early this year so will be held in February.

I'm also trying to arrange a Welfare Trip with Andaman Discoveries to a village which was badly affected by the Tsunami. Andaman have put a fantastic eco-tourism package together and JJ over at Tea Stains has just come back from there - she is now going to use her fantastic writing skills to produce some articles for them in order to help with their publicity.

What else......Oh I've been doing some cake decorating (No, I have not made Jam and will never make Jam before you ask!!). There is a big fair this weekend which is run by the British Chamber of Commerce and the BWG always have a cake stall (Ye Olde Tarts) - I'm not the worlds best baker so have joined forces with my friend Caroline - she's baking and I'm decorating!! I have just made about 10 of these so far

and I wonder why I've not had time to update my blog......

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

It's not always 'Only In Thailand'

LOL - Sometimes people in the UK get it wrong too.......

Sorry I just had to share this.

(and if you're struggling to work out why - look at where the exhaust is!!)

Caroline - Thanks for sending me this!!

Saturday, 17 November 2007

Mum's last few days

I can't believe her holiday is over already - it 's flown past!!

On Tuesday I took her along to Wat Pho (That's the HUGE big gold Buddha that I've written about before - if your interested you can read about it here). We decided to have our fortunes told since Wat Pho is famous for it's fortune tellers (and massage - what a combination) and I've never had it done. Well, we ended up sitting there waiting for aaaaages as this Indian family of about a billion went before us.......ok, so it wasn't actually a billion it was only five but they really took their one point the son actually asked if the fellow could tell them what year his mother was going to die!! (She was sitting right there - nice eh.......I could have asked but I think Mum would have bashed me!!). Anyway, Mum was told that she's going to be coming into money and that she was going to meet a man in the next couple of years (she was also told that she talks too much and that she should think before she speaks.......which gave me the giggles till he said the same about me when it was my turn!!). According to the wee blokey Chris and I are going to have a long and happy life (that's good), we're going to have two children (that's not so you think cats count?) and I talk too much!! (Harrumph!!). After that we went to Khao San Road and comforted ourselves with pizza and then went on a boat tour of the Klongs - God I was knackered when I got home!!

On Wednesday I dragged Mum out her pit early and she accompanied me to the orphanage to see Mo-Cha-Ya. I've not been able to go for ages as the place was shut to visitors......some infectious disease (it was nothing serious just very infectious) was doing the rounds. God she's grown and after a few cuddles was very smiley (I have discovered that she likes raspberries blown on her tummy and that she has really tickly feet) so I got some great photo's which I'll use for the scrapbook. Mum really liked the place and, like me, was pleasantly surprised - actually it was quite lovely......we watched a family come and collect their little boy......the new Mum took one look at him and burst into tears and he couldn't wait to be picked up and cuddled (would bring a tear to a glass eye!!). It's now become habit to have lunch at The Beirut Restaurant when we get back to Bangkok so it was hummus and pita bread all round - this is what I do every Wednesday and it was great that Mum got to see, and participate, in my real life rather than just the tourist side of things.

Thursday was Mum's last day and was also the BWG November lunch. This is one of the lunches that has vendors attend so I had arranged to have a welfare table. We had coloured gels (generously donated by Carolyn) that you can stick on your windows and they look like stained glass when the sun shines through them, we had batik cushion covers made by kids that live on one of the slums, wine charms made by moon and my drawings. Mum came along and helped me set up and then Carolyn, Anne-Marie and Mum helped me sell our items. We did really well - over 3,000 baht will go back to the slum kids (I'm doing another sale in a weeks time so we'll be able to add to that), over 4,000 baht went to Moon to fund her kids though school and so far I think we're at about 4,000 baht to go into the BWG Welfare Fund. (I sold five drawings......FIVE......I couldn't believe it......was grinning like a loony all through lunch!!). Speaking of lunch - the food was fab and I had arranged for a girl called Kyra to come and speak on the history of the Karen Hill Tribe and we presented her with a cheque at the end of her presentation. It was a great day and, because we had done so many BWG things, Mum knew loads of people who made a point of coming over and speaking to her.

Sadly after lunch it was time to come home and attempt to pack everything Mum had bought into a suitcase. We took one look at all the stuff and decided that there was no way it was going to fit into the case she had brought so she ended up borrowing one of the HUGE cases we had brought when we moved over here (I should have taken a photo). I advised her that the best thing to do was to leave Chris to do her packing since he is master packer extraordinaire - even he had his doubts that it was all going to fit.....I'm happy to say that we got there in the end. (and in her defence she now has all her Christmas pressies bought AND some birthday presents for next year)

I was really sad to see her go - but was chuffed to bits when she said that she'd had high expectations for the holiday and we'd managed to surpass them in the first few days!! I think she's going to have fun boring people to death with hundred's of photo's (and I'm really not kidding about the hundred's of photo's either!!!)

Wednesday, 14 November 2007

Chiang Mai

I really had forgotten how much I loved Chiang Mai - It's such a great place!! It's really easy to get to as well - only takes about an hour from Don Mueang Airport (I should tell you that Don Mueang is the old airport - it had been closed and everything moved to Suvarnabhumi but then the powers that be realised that the new airport couldn't actually cope with all the flights so Don Mueang was reopened and now most internal flights go from there). We had a blast - we were staying in a hotel called The Raming Lodge which is within walking distance of both the night market and the old town so it was in a great location. It was also really nice, not 5 star or anything, but it was clean and comfortable - although the toilet was a bit odd.......look.......I could wave at Chris whilst using it.....not that I did....but, you know, I could have.....if I had wanted to. (Neils, I want you to know that I am resisting saying anything!!!). We then rented a Song Tao and went to visit Wat Prathat Doi Suthep (you can read about the history of the place here) which was as beautiful as ever (although I have to say that with Chris's sooper dooper new camera we got some cracking shots!!) then we went to The Gallery for dinner (it overlooks the river and the food is absolutely gorgeous) and then we went to walking street and my Mum shopped till I was ready to drop!!! We did manage to get some amazing things including a couple of wedding presents for Derek and Anne (Guy's I really hope you like them!!)

On Sunday poor Chris had to head back to Bangkok for work (bloody client changed a meeting on him at the last minute so he had to cut his holiday short) so we decided to spend the morning visiting a few temples and then go for Sunday Lunch. We visited the oldest temple in Chiang Mai - Wat Chiang Mun which is located within the walled city on Rajpakinai Road. King Mengrai allegedly lived here whilst the city of Chiang Mai was built and one of the reasons Chiang Mai is so popular during Songkran is because inside the Wat is a tiny crystal Buddha which is thought to have the power to bring rain. (We put money into the alms bowls to bring good luck)

Then we visited
Wat Phra Singh which is in the centre of the city (intersection of Singharaj and Raidamnern Road) and was built in 1345 by King Pha Yu to house the remains of his father King Kam Fu. It's an amazing place and actually houses a scripture repository which was designed specifically to house the mullberry paper sheets used by monks to keep records. After that we were all templed out so we went and grabbed some lunch at the Irish bar/restaurant we had found when we visited with Tom. Chris headed off to Bangkok and Mum and I had a relaxing afternoon at the spa having our tired feet massaged back to life before heading back out for more shopping at the Sunday Walking Market. (I think she bought half of Chiang Mai - it was a struggle to get everything into the suitcase!!)

On Monday we were up early so decided to go visit a temple just north of the city called Wat Jet Yod which was built in the 15th century to host the 8th World Buddhist Council. Chris and I had never made it there on our previous trips so I was quite curious to see it - OMG it was amazing. The design of the temple is based on the Mahabodhi Temple in India which was the site of the Buddha's enlightenment and it's got Indian figures carved all over it. The name of the temple translates to 'The Temple of the Seven Spires' and is in reference to the very uncommon design of the temple's Chedi which is a square base topped by seven towers. Whilst we were there we got chatting to one of the Monks based there (he wanted the chance to practice his English) and he told me that the next time we visit Chiang Mai he will act as our guide and take us round all the temples, explain the rituals and where they come from. He then asked for my phone number - I wasn't sure at all about giving it to him but figured that it would probably be very bad karma to give a monk a wrong number!!.

Then it was back to Bangkok

Saturday, 10 November 2007

Quick update on Mum's holiday

On Thursday we decided to have a Sabai day (Sabai in Thai means 'take it easy') so we spent the morning in Siam Paragon Shopping Centre looking at very beautiful Thai crafts. Then grabbed some lunch in Orangery (Photo courtesy of Table for Three Please) - it's great there.....nothing at all like the food courts in the uk......there is one plush eating area which is surrounded by tastefully designed satellite kitchens. The kitchens are run by some of the best restaurants in Bangkok and you are given one menu and you can then choose what food you would like and the waiter will order at each kitchen for you.......perfect if you fancy Thai and your friend wants Indian. (It kind of act's as a showcase for the restaurants and the idea is that having had a taster you will then be tempted to go to the actual restaurant for dinner). We had a fab lunch then headed to Take Care for a manicure and pedicure and then Baan Dalah for a facial and a foot massage. (Mum had a hot herbal ball massage and I had something called Icey Spicey which was a really cold press followed by a chilli one and left my legs feeling all was weird but my tired feet felt fantastic after it!!). It was a beautiful evening so after dinner we opened a bottle of wine, sat out on our balcony and watched the Diwali celebrations.

Yesterday we got up early and headed out to the Erawan Museum. It was one of the few places that Mum really wanted to see so she had made a special request. I knew she would love it and she said the same as me when I went for the first time that it's like something out of a Fairy Tale. (You can read about the Museum Here). We then headed to Agalico for some lunch (another of Mum's special requests) and had a great time watching a wedding photo shoot round the tea room and gardens.

The rest of the afternoon was spent doing some shopping and getting ourselves organised for our trip to Chiang Mai.

Friday, 9 November 2007


Well maybe a wee bit!!

The BWG regularly hold evening events and on Wednesday night they were holding a pub crawl quiz called Bar Cluedo (Yep, based on the game Cluedo). We had to form teams of four so Jen, Mum, Louise and I got together and called ourselves 'The Maid Did It' (We were told we had to have a group name that was linked with Murder Mysteries and that cheesy title was the best I could come up with at short notice!!).

We had such good fun - we all met up in a pub called Hanrahans (Soi 4) where each team was given a sheet of paper which told the beginning of a story in a Sherlock Holmes stylie - Each Pub represented a room which, once visited, could be crossed off, in the body of the story were clues which would allow us to eliminate a character and a method, and then at the end of the sheet was a cryptic clue which would lead us onto the next pub. There were monitors stationed at each pub who would give you the next part of the story and were there to help you if you got stuck and the only real rules were that all members of the team had to arrive together and that at least one of the team bought a drink (Now THAT we did manage!!).

OMG - We got our 1st sheet and then spent ages trying to figure out what the hell we were doing and where we should be going. Chris, who had joined another team, strolled past very smugly making 'It's easy' comments (Harrumph). Honestly - I think we might still be sitting in the first pub trying to decipher the cryptic clue if it hadn't been for Mum......we quickly realised that we each had different talents.......Mum was good at solving the cryptic clues, Jen and I were good at finding the connections within the clues and Louise was great at spotting the clues in each pub. I do have to say that we did have a fifth team member who was completely invaluable.......her name was Berry (as in Berry of the Black variety).......I am slightly ashamed to say that we occasionally relied upon Jen's BlackBerry to answer some of the questions (Oh come many groups of women would know what Stadium is home to the New York Giants???). Anyway, (moving swiftly on) we came second and won a magnifying glass each

Yes, we cheated and STILL didn't win!!

Thursday, 8 November 2007

More sightseeing and stuff

Despite the quantities of alcohol consumed at Melbourne Cup we still managed to be up and out in time to meet Jen (Teastains JJ) at 8.45am in Asok Skytrain Station (not bad eh!!). We'd both received invitations to attend a coffee morning at the Bangkok National Museum (We're both part of the NMV) so that we could view the Photography exhibition in more detail (It was difficult to see everything on the opening night because of the number of people there!!) and to attend a talk by the President of the Thai Photographic Society. I had never been to the Museum via the River Taxi before but had decided that it was probably a hell of a lot quicker than trying to get there by car (Honestly - Bangkok Traffic is really a sight to behold and I'm not even going to go into how bad it is in rush hour!!). It turned out to be a good move - we met up with Merran and Heather at the boat and it turned out that Heather had done this route before and we could actually just walk to the Museum at the other end (So we didn't have to go through the rigmarole of trying to get a taxi to take us where we wanted to go!!). We spent a really lovely morning there......we walked round the exhibition, Mum got to meet my NMV friends and then we sat under the shade of a huge tree eating cakes and listening to the speaker. Normally it's so hot here that sitting outside is not really an option but we're heading into the cool season now (which means that the temp goes down to about 28 degrees) so there was a pleasant breeze and it was just lovely!!! It was great that she got to see it in all it's glory and she managed to pick up a few copies of the book to take home with her as presents.

Jen headed off to do some writing and Mum and I went along to Kuppa on Soi 16 - If you've not been I can highly recommend it.....the roast vegetable salad is absolutely gorgeous and, this is the best bit, if you've had salad it means that you can have cake (The carrot cake is to die for!!). Mum and I met up with my friend Caroline and her friend Amanda who we discovered has a cat that weighs 12 kilos!! (2 that's a big cat!!). We had a lovely lunch then headed off to the SCAD (Soi Cat And Dog) shop where I volunteer and Mum helped me update their shop window for Diwali. (I'm not sure we did a very good job but at least we got rid of the mouldy pumpkins that had been there from Halloween!!).

I'm sorry but I just can't help myself.....
Diwali is lovely and is celebrated by Buddhists, Hindus, Jains and Sikhs across the globe. It's known as 'The Festival of Light' where lights or lamps signify the victory of good over evil within every human being. The story behind Diwali varies across different regions - some believe that it's the return of Lord Rama to Ayodhya after a 14 year exile and that the people of Ayodhya lit oil lamps to light his path in the dark, some believe that it's a celebration commemorating the killing of an evil demon called Narakasura by Lord Krishna whilst others believe that it is the day that Lord Krishna defeated Indra who is the deity of thunder and rain but, no matter what the belief, it is celebrated with fireworks, lights, flowers and worship.

Wednesday, 7 November 2007

Melbourne Cup

We went to The Amari Watergate Hotel yesterday to celebrate The Melbourne Cup. It was a fantastic started at 9.30am with champers (having been last year Jen (JJ) and I thought it would be a good idea to go a wee bit later) so we didn't arrive till 11am - and guess what.......we managed to completely miss the race!!! Oh well.....we only went for the alcohol anyway!!

This photo is of the venue - people get all dressed up as you can see from the people on the stage and the horse in the corner of the picture

This is Claire as one of the Carmen Mirandas

The horse turned out to be Wellie who hosted my Art Exhibition

It was a really good laugh and Mum had a ball but as you can all got a bit messy!!

We went to the after show party in the Soi 8 bar.....I think we left sometime around 10pm.....and we eventually got to bed just after midnight (once we had managed to kick my friend Louise out the door!!)

I am happy to report that no-one in our household was 'Hang hang hang' today - although I think Louise was feeling slightly delicate!!!

Monday, 5 November 2007

Jim Thomson's House + MBK

We had another action packed day today!! (I'm knackered already so I have no idea how my Mum's feeling!!). We had a lovely Thai breakfast to start the day today.....Mum wasn't so sure about the Khao Dome which is coconut sticky rice in banana leaves but everything else went down well!!

Then we jumped on the Skytrain and headed along to National Stadium and headed along to Jim Thompson's House. You know something......this gets kinda hard to write about when it's the fourth time you've been. (You can read the history of the place here). Mum absolutely loved it (as I knew she would) and we had a really lovely, leisurely morning plootering about the gardens. We did some shopping and then had a gorgeous lunch - Chicken Spring Rolls, Crab Cakes and Prawn Spring Rolls followed by Thai roasted chicken with sticky rice and stir fried vegetables. Oooohhhh it was divine!! (We both got the giggles - I had just finished saying that I had never seen anyone I knew here when someone I know passed the window and waved in!!). Mum was most impressed by the Rice Wine Tea Pot that you fill from the bottom as it doesn't have a lid (Jim Thompson had one and we were shown it on the tour) so after lunch we went on a 'Hunt the teapot' expedition.....I am happy to say that we managed to find one (Go Us!!)

After JT's we went along to MBK and I think Mum was quite impressed by's very Thai (One of the floors seems to be completely dedicated to mobile phones and smelly fish substances!!) but you really can get everything you ever wanted (and probably a few things you didn't know existed). She treated herself to a stunning lamp made out of silk worm cocoons (which sounds horrible but isn't!!) and managed to pick up a few wee bits and bobs as presents (so I'm not going to say any more about the shopping!!). You know.......the best thing about having lots of guests is the excuse to take them to great places where you can buy yummy food - yep we ended up at the cake place!!! (Tell me that doesn't look great and I'll call you a liar!!)

We grabbed a cab back home (I had decided there was no way I was carrying Mum's shopping any further!!) and whilst we were stuck in traffic Chris called to say that he had just left the office. We could see him from the cab!! Much waving ensued but he declined to join us in the cab cause he reckoned he'd be quicker walking.....and he was......after another five minutes we gave up and decided to walk back too. We were just passing Time Square when Mum spotted Chris sitting at one of the tables with a guess who decided to join him!! It was really good fun - it's now into the cool season here so the tables and chairs are back outside the mall and there is live music (The same band as last year).....Moon came and joined us and we had a beer or two (or five) outside listening to the Thai rock band do ACDC cover tunes amongst others. I am ashamed to say that we got Moon drunk AGAIN and I ended up having to put her to bed!!!